We were all asleep by 4am and slept through until 8-9am the next morning!
A few weeks ago I received an email from a lovely lady who had given birth back in 2017- it is NEVER too late to send your story into us! Thank you Lizzie for sharing your wonderful story!
“It’s has taken me a long while to write this all down and now I’m 32 weeks pregnant with our second baby girl so I wanted to share my positive birth story with the CBS community!
When I found out I was pregnant with our first baby, I cried with part happiness/ part fear. Even though we had been trying, and I was so happy to be pregnant, the thought suddenly dawned on me that I now had to give birth… to a real life baby! I was crippled with fear and anxiety and it really shocked me. All I could see when I pictured my labour was the dramatised versions as seen on TV of women screaming and Doctors rushing around their beside… I’d never watched “one born every minute” as it was already too distressing for me.
It was clear I developed a phobia of sorts.
So, instead of hiding my head in the sand (which is most like me) I started to deal with the obvious problem head on. I had heard of Hypnobirthing before but wanted to educate myself as typically I had the misperception of a hippy waving an intense stick around the room, chanting and wasn’t sure that approach was for me.
Thankfully, I found The Calm Birth Method book on audible and when I sampled it Suzy’s voice rang out dispelling those associated myths. As I listened to the book, I was educated with scientific facts on the biology of birth and an explanation of the impact that medicalisation can have on labour/ and negative influence the media has had on a good few generations of women. Although saddened to hear why this was happening to so many mothers-to-be I also felt hope that I could do something about my pregnancy and to help with my baby coming into this world. I realised that I could change what I had imagined labour to be and had become so fearful of.
A few things happened after I found the CBS (and listened to the CBM book).
- I was lucky enough a have a NHS midwife who recommended I consider a homebirth due to a low risk pregnancy
- I watched tons of positive birth & Hypnobirthing videos on YouTube
- I joined as many FB groups supporting the positive birth movement as I could
- I stopped listening to ANY labour horror stories and watching movies/ tv that sensationised birth
- I practiced my 3 different types of breathing exercises, visualisations and listened to affirmations.
So now I had done some preparation (maybe still not enough as it felt like I was going into an exam semi prepared), it was time to wait for her arrival. Something I learnt later is that 96% of babies don’t arrive on their “due date”, and most women give birth between 41 & 42 weeks. So I shouldn’t have been so fixated on that one date.
Nothing much was happening and the midwives had made it clear that past 42 weeks I couldn’t have a homebirth but had to be induced in the hospital, which of course I wasn’t keen on. I was 41 + 5 days when I agreed to have my first sweep, a good chance to practice my HB calm and surge breathing. The midwife was surprised that I calmly sat through it, but it honestly didn’t hurt. Later that day I started getting mild period cramps which was exciting so I started nesting and preparing all the things again just in case… hospital bag (which I had checked one million times but hopefully wouldn’t need), birth pool (yes it was still there pumped up ready to be filled), birth preferences, all the tiny baby clothes… the list goes on. I also thankfully took the time to sit down and meditate, listen to my affirmations, (powerball was a good one) and try to relax, cuddling my dog and hubby.
The next day I was booked in for another sweep, it was Friday morning and I had managed to sleep ok overnight. I knew by this point that my body was trying to start labour naturally, hooray! I still didn’t know how long it would take to get going but I wasn’t too worried. The 2nd sweep helped and Dan (husband & birth partner) was super supportive and getting into action, timing “surges”, filling the pool etc. My lovely mum was all excited but generally we were all in waiting, poised ready mode. The pool was filled by Dan’s super-efficient fast fill plumbing system and then we waited some more… and more. Meanwhile, I kept as active and mobile as possible. By the end of Friday my surges were intermittent and irregular but my body was definitely doing something.
After a fairly restless 2nd night, the midwife visited on Saturday mid-morning to see how I was doing and she was just lovely, talking me through and reassuring me that it can take a while to get going the first time around. By the afternoon, after a walk in the park with Dan, stair walking and calm breathing my surges had become closer together and slightly more powerful. By mid afternoon I was in the beginning of 1st stage labour… each wave was about 10-15 minutes apart. I had a bath and this relaxed my achy body. I also had clary sage, bergamot and frankincense oils to smell and I listened to my affirmations and the playlist I’d created.
By early evening, I was finding using the birthball the best way to ease each surge along with wave breathing of course! Actually looking back it seems like time was a blur and passed by so quickly. I was still alert enough to update the midwives back at the hospital on my progress on the phone. Suddenly, through a particularly powerful surge around 10:30pm I felt a change in pressure and feeling. I turned to Dan and said “we need the midwife here I feel like I need to push”… within seconds he was on the phone to the midwife unit and they reassured us our midwife was on her way. Phew!
By the time she arrived, I was experiencing much stronger surges and she confirmed I was 8cm… wow! She handed me gas and air that I gratefully accepted but probably didn’t actually need in all fairness. I found sitting on the toilet at this point (both conventional and backwards) more comforting so spent most of my time there.. surge breathing was harder to do but I was still trying to use the techniques I learnt. The midwife had said “you’ll be ready to push in about an hour and half so you are almost there”. Sure enough and amazingly exactly 1.5 hours later I was ready to get in the birthing pool and begin 2nd stage labour. I couldn’t get comfortable, so poor Dan ended up holding me up the whole time it took to breathe/ push her out, another hour and a half! Thankfully managed it finally, although it definitely took the most out of me. Looking back and having done even more research since on how the muscles are working at this stage to push the baby down the birth canal I understand the feeling of discomfort and pressure I was feeling at that point as well as baby wriggling her way out. I kept saying in my head, “together we can do this” and repeating “all is calm, all is well, I am safe” mantra. The birth breathing definitely helped as no damage was caused by taking my time and baby’s heartbeat stayed steady the whole time, what a trooper!
She appeared up through the water and onto my chest, finally baby Adaline had entered our world, the most amazing moment of all time. All tiny, wrinkly with a full head of dark hair and a serious set of lungs on her! Haha! We’re both crying and hugging, kissing her, each other.
Shortly after, Dan calls my mum up to meet her – she is anxiously waiting on the stairs at this point! After what felt like seconds but was apparently was minutes the cord is clamped and Dan cuts the baby free and takes her for daddy baby bonding time, weighing etc.
Strangely the third stage, although I was feeling so happy and relieved that everything is ok with baby and me, I felt worried. It took ages and I needed a more managed stage, the oxytocin injection twice, although not painful I lost lots of blood. We learnt the next day I was seriously post-partem anemic. I’m not convinced the cord was left long enough before clamping/cutting, it is hard to tell as time seemed irrelevant. Eventually the placenta detached and everything was ok, time to wind down!
The best thing for me of the home birth experience was being in our own bed and space where Dan, baby and I could relax together as well as mum could be there within seconds of Adaline being born. Our tiny baby was so chilled and latched on within 30 minutes (during third stage). We were all asleep by 4am and slept through until 8-9am the next morning!
Massive thanks to the Calm Birth School and the Midwives from West Sussex NHS HomeBirth unit. Plus not forgetting the whole Hypnobirthing/ Positive Birth movement for helping me experience such an incredible birth!
I’m so grateful that I can go into my second birth with such a positive mindset.”
If you want to create your own positive birth you can start today!